(WALHALLA, SC). An Oconee County jury has found Shane Adam Burdette guilty of Voluntary Manslaughter and possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime in the death of James Evan Tyner in July of 2013. The Honorable Cordell Maddox sentenced Burdette to 25 years suspended to 15 years’ service on the Voluntary Manslaughter charge and 5 years on the weapons charge to be served consecutively.   


 On July 9, 2013, a 911 call came in to Oconee County dispatch stating that James Evan Tyner had been shot at a residence on Mt. Pleasant Road in Westminster, SC. Upon arrival, law enforcement found Mr. Tyner on the ground with a gunshot wound to the back of his neck.  


The incident occurred at the home of the defendant’s parents. The victim was Burdette’s brother-in-law. Burdette was questioned and, following the waiver of his Miranda rights, gave several conflicting statements about the circumstances of the shooting. Witnesses at the scene testified that the defendant went into the house and came out with a shotgun as Tyner ran down the road to get away. Burdette then fired one shot into the ground, reloaded, and fired a second shot at the victim, hitting him in the neck. Tyner immediately fell to the ground. 



Kyndra Howell was convicted Wednesday by an Anderson County jury of the kidnapping and armed robbery of C. J. Patel in July of 2012, as well as possessing a weapon during the commission of the crime. The jury found Howell not guilty of murder. The Honorable Lawton McIntosh sentenced Howell to 30 years for kidnapping, 15 years for armed robbery and 5 years for the weapons offense. All sentences are to be served consecutively.

Mr. Patel was bound, tortured and robbed while visiting the defendant’s home on July 1, 2012. When he failed to give bank account information to the defendant and others in the home, he was taken to a secluded area close to the Georgia border where he was shot in the head. The victim was found several days later in 100 degree temperatures.

“We respect the jury’s verdict of not guilty for the murder of Mr. Patel,” stated Solicitor Chrissy Adams. “However, we believe that Kyndra Howell’s greed and total disregard for the life of others led directly to the brutal actions causing his death. Her actions will now force her to spend what could be the rest of her life in prison."



(Walhalla, SC). Joshua Randall Ferguson pled guilty today in Oconee General Sessions Court to Voluntary Manslaughter for the death of Ben Cantrell in November of 2013. The Honorable Lee Alford sentenced Ferguson to 15 years in prison.  


On November 15, 2013, Ben Cantrell was visiting a home on Webb Road in Seneca, SC when he, the defendant, and others began arguing. A fight occurred in the home and eventually spilled outside when people at the home tried to get Mr. Cantrell to leave. According to witnesses, as Cantrell turned to walk away from the home, Ferguson shot him. When law enforcement arrived they found the victim unresponsive lying face down outside the home. Ferguson later confessed to law enforcement.  



“Ben Cantrell’s death was a terrible tragedy that should never have happened,” said Solicitor Chrissy Adams. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family.”



(Walhalla, SC). Joshua Michael Fulbright pled guilty today in Oconee General Sessions Court to Voluntary Manslaughter for the death of Richard Marszalek in December of 2013. The Honorable Lee Alford sentenced Fulbright to 22 years.  


Richard Marszalek was first reported missing on January 11, 2014. On January 17th, acting upon their investigation and tips, Oconee County Sheriff’s Office searched the rubble of a burned home in Seneca, SC and found the body of Mr. Marszalek wrapped in a blanket under the home. Post-mortem examination determined the cause of death to be cerebral edema and brain stem herniation due to blunt force trauma to the head.  


Further investigation revealed that the victim was an acquaintance of Fulbright with a history of ill will between them. On December 27th Marszalek and Fulbright had an argument that resulted in a fist fight. Later in the day Fulbright came to the residence where the victim was staying and further argument ensued. Fulbright, along with 2 others, fought with Mr. Marszalek. Witness statements indicate Fulbright inflicted the fatal blows to the victim. Mr. Marszalek’s body was subsequently wrapped in a blanket and placed under the home.  

“Joshua Fulbright has a history of drug use and violent behavior,” said Solicitor Chrissy Adams. “Given the facts of this case, we have had lengthy discussions with the victim’s family about how to best ensure they see justice is served and believe that today’s plea and subsequent sentence does just that while protecting our community from further violence by the defendant.”